Strippers, surveillance and assassination plots: The wildest JFK Files

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Part of a file, dated Nov. 24, 1963, quoting FBI director J. Edgar Hoover as he talks about the death of Lee Harvey Oswald, released for the first time Thursday. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

 

President Trump ordered the release of more than 2,800 records related to the John F. Kennedy assassination on Thursday, but bowed to pressure from the CIA, FBI and other agencies to delay disclosing some of the most sensitive documents for another six months. Even so, the thousands of pages that were published online by the National Archives Thursday evening describe decades of spies and surveillance, informants and assassination plots.

More than a dozen reporters and editors for The Washington Post combed through the documents on Thursday night. Here are some of the wildest things they found, some of which have been reported about before and some new.

$100,000 to kill Fidel Castro

A 1964 FBI memo describes a meeting in which Cuban exiles tried to set a price on the heads of Fidel Castro, Raul Castro and Ernesto “Che” Guevara. “It was felt that the $150,000.00 to assassinate FIDEL CASTRO plus $5,000 expense money was too high,” the memo noted. At a subsequent meeting, they settled on more modest sums: $100,000 for Fidel, $20,000 for Raul and $20,000 for Che.

Or was Fidel only worth two cents?

Another document describes a Pentagon proposed scheme called Operation BOUNTY that sought to overthrow Cuba’s government, and established a system of financial rewards for Cubans for “killing or delivering alive known Communists.” The CIA would let Cubans know of the plan by dropping leaflets in the air, but there were rules: A reward would be paid to an individual upon presentation of a leaflet, with “conclusive” proof of death and dead person’s party/revolutionary membership card. Cubans who played along would get a certain dollar amount based on the title of the Communist who they had killed. They’d get up to $100,000 for government officials and $57,500 for “department heads.” Castro, perhaps for symbolic reasons, would earn a Cuban only two cents.

— Ian Shapira

Sex parties

A 1960 FBI memo described a “high-priced Hollywood call girl” who was approached by Fred Otash, a well known Los Angeles private investigator, seeking information about sex parties involving then Senator John F. Kennedy, his brother-in-law actor Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. “She told the agents that she was unaware of any indiscretions,” the memo said.

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